Friday, March 25, 2011

Her Story Begins.

Praise be to God!

We welcome this gift into our hearts and our lives...

Naomi April
March 23, 2011
10:08 am
9lbs. 15oz.
20 in.

Many more thoughts and photos to come.   Wishing time could just stand still right now.   
God has turned our tears to a time of rejoicing!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Flashback Friday/ Our Big kid is 11 !!

Eleven years ago Dan and I were just youngsters --  I mean really,  quite young  at 23 and 24 !!  We were anticipating the birth of our first child.  It was one of the most precious times in our life so far.  I love to witness people waiting for their first child to arrive.  With great expectation they do not yet know what an almost sacred moment they will soon experience!!

We did not know if were about to meet a boy or a girl,  but in my heart I just knew I would have a boy.  I had always kind of wanted a big brother to lead the way and I dreamed that my future daughters would benefit from that.   I guess that reality is yet to be determined. Yes, they have older brothers-- but will they appreciate that?

Boy oh, boy what a difference it is being pregnant @ 35!   I won't go into all the reasons for I don't want this to read like a complaint list.  I certainly am not complaining about my current state,  but this ol' uterus ain't what it used to be!  Ha HA!

So for this Flashback,   a few photos from expecting Chase.  How I treasured the last 11 years and roughly 207 weeks of carrying our babies! 

March 2000  38 weeks and waiting to meet our firstborn--Chase!
 back when maternity shirts were long enough and resembled tents.
A few more funnies from labor and delivery...

Dan was pretty tired out from all the labor I was doing! We still laugh about this!

Wow,  after 12 hours of true labor,  He was here and I was a Mom.  

Since I'm on the feeling train,  I'll ride it a bit longer...
Chase has been a blessing beyond measure with his calm disposition and generally pleasing attitude.   I am not naive enough to think that we are not on the verge of big change for him as he enters the ~~shudder~~   'tween years.

But today on this 11th birthday, I bring God praise for all that He has made him and all Chase will become.    Time to buckle our seatbelts!!!!    If only figuratively for 4 more years!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

11 months ago...

"There is no despair so absolute  
as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow,
(naming our baby girl)

  when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed,  (one day I will testify!)
to have despaired and have recovered hope."
--George Eliot

I  recently came across this quote.  I read it and thought to myself-- SO true!   I immediately thought how it so poetically described our last 11 months.
I broke down each phrase of the quote followed by parenthesized links to previous blog posts. 
If you are new to my story,  click the above links for a small summary.

First came despair.   
Losing April was our first great sorrow.   Perhaps the pain of losing her was second to the immense fear I held that I didn't know how to live life after loss.  What if I couldn't move past it?  What if I dissolved into a disaster of a woman filled with bitterness,  emptiness, and anger.   What if I turned my face from God or believed he turned his face from me?
I did not know what it was to have suffered and be healed.

As the weeks went on I learned and experienced much.  The ways, shapes and forms that healing comes.  But also the ways,  shapes and forms grief over our loss that still remains to this day.  

In what surprised me as a relatively short amount of time,
God gave us a gift to recover our hope.

I did a bit of research,  not a lot but some, about the person who wrote these words.
She wasn't a George after all,  that was her pen name.  Her given name was Mary Ann Evans and she denounced Christianity.   How she must be rolling in her grave knowing that the beautiful words she penned so long ago speak to me only of Jesus. 

I don't say that to be condescending,  I just love, love, love it when I come across something so full of truth!!!

11 months have passed and our story  still beginning.
What I'm realizing now is-- that it always can be...beginning.

Monday, March 14, 2011

the crib in the corner and her memory on the wall

Well, there it is.

The crib in the corner.   Again.

It was only a short 2 years ago that we moved it out of our bedroom much to Dan's dismay.   Juliet was one year old and needed to get her buns in Joy's room and take up residence.  
The crib itself had a brief hiatus from use for about 2 months after we moved the girls to bunk beds.   Back in January, my heart was not ready for the crib to stand at the ready for a baby that was not close enough to coming.   By February, we repainted our bedroom and I had to ride the wave of Dan's motivation for makeover.   So the crib is up,  the pinky flower car seat is free of mouse turds from our basement and I've even busted out the old breastfeeding paraphernalia.

It feels good,  I feel ready as I'll ever be ... for 5 kids.

A special addition to our room,  11 months the making,  is the shadow box.
It contains the few pieces of memorabilia that we have from the pregnancy and loss of our baby, April.   I delivered her, nearing what would have been my 17th week of pregnancy,  last April 15.  
sorry about the photo quality, I am the WORST photog. !!

I don't know why it has taken 11 months to create something I wanted to do immediately.   Partly because I am a procrastinator,  partly because I think I just needed to keep them in the box,  in the drawer,  until I was ready.    Who knows?    But I am happy with the result.   Someday I will tell this little one about another, even smaller one that came before her.    A story that tells of God's hand,  His will,  His comfort,  His sovereignty and how very much I have yet to learn.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

jealous, much?

With each new infant item introduced into the daily mix I have a little gal who would really just like to go back in time and relive her short session as the "baby".

Does she even remember when she fit in this seat?
I certainly do!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

"to the joy that's coming"

If there was ever a song that I worked hard on me last summer it was Before The Morning by Josh Wilson.  

Last week Joy and I were cruisin' around town in the mini-van and she began to talk about April.    Joy has kept April a part of our daily lives through conversations, questions and drawings.   So many times I have been struck by what a healing gift that has been.  Numerous times she has asked me just how small her head was, and if she can look at the hospital momentos.   She lovingly opens the box and carefully examines each article.   Joy is not a procrastinator and she keeps wondering why I have yet to compile the momentos and display them in the shadow box that I bought last fall.   She has convicted me to work on it, amongst other things that I really want do to honor April's memory before I am all to consumed with my post-pregnancy life.

So, back to the song.   There is a phrase in the song that sings like this:

Would dare you, would you dare, to believe,
that you still have a reason to sing,
'cause the pain you've been feeling,
can't compare to the joy that's coming

If you know Joy and I (and my mom for that matter)  we are always humming or singing a tune that it is our heads.  On that particular day in the van I was singing the above lyrics.   Joy said to me,
"Mom,  I know what that means... "to the joy that's coming"
I replied, "What do you think?"
She said "When the new baby comes!"

And for the short term,  she is right.  The baby is absolutely a joy that's coming!   But there in that moment I wanted to tell her all the more reasons that joy is coming--One Glorious Day!   I tried, and as my kids often do,  she bolted to the next topic as quick as her mind would go.   One of the legacies, if you will,  that April's short life leaves in our family is that she opened our children's minds door to Heaven.   For that I thank my Heavenly Father.

There is so much that her 7 year old self just gets, you know?  I am amazed at how God works in her heart and how she so easily expresses herself.   Sometimes too easily when it comes to her opinions,  wants or displeasure.   She is my firstborn girl and it blesses me to know that she will carry April with her throughout her life.   What God has given me is a special someone that will keep all of the physical and mental memories for me someday when I have gone on.    She is truly a Joy !!

If you care to check it.... Here is  a short story about the inspiration for this song.  Great Story!

And finally,  a few pix of Joy and I on today.. our shared BIRTHDAY!!!